SDLP Councillor Margaret Anne McKillop has asked the Forestry Service to open the toilet block at the entrance to Ballypatrick Forest on the road between the Glens of Antrim and the Causeway Coast.
The forest is used extensively for a range of outdoor pursuits and sees visitors every day of the year.
She said: “Ballypatrick Forest is a gem as an amenity not just for outdoor pursuits enthusiasts but those who simply want to take a walk in the forest. Unfortunately, the toilet block remarks padlocked during the winter months and this is much missed, particularly by those who are visitors to the area.
In the last few months visitors have included a steady stream of people coming to visit the memorial stone erected to Inga-Maria Hauser, the young German girl whose murder remains unsolved. Many of these come from a distance and find it disappointed that the nearby toilet block is padlocked.
Never has there been a greater need to encourage people to become involved in outdoor exercise and we are blessed with this splendid amenity which offers a unique opportunity for parents to get their children involved in the wonders of nature and introduce them to healthy lifestyles away from computers, IPads and, of course obesity.
In this part of the world we are blessed with fine forests and no better than Ballypatrick. As the tourist season extends well beyond the summer months I believe it is time to review the policy on opening times for toilets and make them available all the year round.
The Chronicle contacted DAERA who is in charge of Ballycastle Forestry Services but at the time of going to press had received no response.